Posts tagged "metal"

How can I reuse or recycle empty bottled gas/propane cylinders?

Lyndon has emailed to ask about reusing – or recycling – propane gas canisters (the ones for heating, barbecues or patio heaters etc):

Trying to tidy up the yard at work, what can I do with some old gas bottles?

If there is a company name on the bottles (like Calor Gas, Flo Gas or TotalGaz – to name but three), the safest/laziest thing might be to contact them to see if they could pick them up – gas bottles get reused again and again by gas supply companies and if the canisters are still in reusable condition, they might be more than willing to take them off your hands and put them back into circulation. (They’ll be able to dispose of any remaining gas too.) (UPDATED: see the note below from Calor – you should really give their tanks back to them.)

Empty or old gas bottles also pop up quite frequently on Freecycle/Freegle, Gumtree and eBay as it is cheaper to refill old tanks than buy new ones every time (and hurrah for that!). Again, hopefully they’ll disappear from your yard with minimal effort and be reused again & again.

As for non-intended purpose reuses, some people turn them into outdoor woodburning stoves – but do be careful if you want to try anything like that yourself! Safety first, and all that.

Have you got any suggestions for how he could reuse these bottles? Or ways to recycle them? And any other advice (particularly about safety issues)?

How can I reuse or recycle large (catering size) food cans?

Sam has emailed asking about large food cans:

I have a number of large metal food cans, some zinc lined, which are called #10 size. They hold about 5 or 6 lbs (just under 3kg) of beans, or other foods. Now that they’re empty, they are open on one end, with no plastic lid to fit them. Any ideas?

Surely I’m not the only one faced with this. I can recycle them, but would like to reuse them.

They sound like pretty big tin cans – probably similar to what we call “catering size” in the UK. I think at least some of the ideas we have for regular size tin cans could be supersized here: plant pots, candle/tea holders for several candles, or using them as a vessel for making those candles in the first place.

But are there any reuses (or upcycling ideas) that are perfect for these bigger cans? Could the can be flattened out to make anything?

How can I reuse, recycle or upcycle biscuit/cookie cutters?

(I still need more inspiration for green new year’s resolutions or green goals for 2012. I think I’m probably going to end up doing 12 small things – one a month – rather than one big thing over the year — and I need ideas! But for now, back to regular scheduled “how can I recycle this?”ing :) )

Bettina has asked:

How can I reuse cookie cutters? Other than as soap molds.

First things first, it has to be said: do consider passing them on if they’re still in usable condition so other people don’t have to buy new. Charity/thrift/op shops will probably take them to sell on, as would many schools/community groups for use during bulk cooking sessions for special events.

Now some onto reusing/upcycling ideas: just yesterday I saw someone using little cookie cutters that they’d got in Christmas crackers (& the like) for cutting out salt dough buttons and cute pedants/jewellery – I guess that’s not really that different to the original biscuit cutting idea but is a crafty rather than culinary angle.

Decent size metal cookie cutters can be used to shape fried eggs – stop them from stretching out right across the pan. We’ve got a round one that’s standard English muffin size so we can have round, deep fried egg muffins for breakfast – yum! (Warning: they do get hot while frying! They cool down quite quickly once off the heat but take care if you try this!).

Moving away from the kitchen, some people hang or mount them for decorative purposes – obviously ones more interesting than just round or just square work best for that (for example, snowman or star shaped ones for Christmas decorations, or hearts for Valentine’s or even all year around ones in romantic households ;) ) – but those simple round/square shapes could be used as little box frames for tiny pieces of artwork/special items. If you want to upcycle them to match your decor or if they’re discoloured, you could paint them with paint suitable for metals (enamel paint?)

Or you/kids could use them as stamps for painting.

Any other ideas for ways to reuse them?

(Photo by schleicher)

How can I reuse or recycle the metal frame from an old umbrella?

Over on the “suggest an item” page, the bookstorebabe said:

Broken umbrellas were done a few years back, but most of the suggestions were reuses for the umbrella fabric.

How about specifically the metal frame, as is or taken apart? Any clever ideas, anyone?

Over on the old umbrella page, Pamela mentioned a lovely idea:

I saw broken umbrella frames used by a theatre troupe, they knotted streamers to the frame, and they blew in the wind, they held it like a rain umbrella, but it was fanciful and lovely and attracted attention. This was a walking troupe, on the street, attracting people to their performance.

While most of us probably wouldn’t want to become street performers with our old umbrellas, I wonder if a frame with streamers placed in the garden would act like a portable scarecrow…?

Nude umbrella frames remind me of swifts, for balling yarn from skeins – but I suspect they might have too many sharp bits/catches for nice yarn. Anyone used/modified one for that?

Any other reusing or recycling ideas? What about ideas that use it in parts rather than whole?

(Photo by LilGoldWmn)

How can I reuse or recycle an old wrought iron gate?

Sticking in the garden after yesterday’s “how to make cloches” question, I’m a member of UKVegGardeners and spotted this question on the forum yesterday:

Anyone got any suggestions, please, on uses for an old wrought iron 3ft square garden gate which has reached the end of its gate life but must have some usefulness left?

Since UKVegGardeners is a community of, well, UK veg gardeners, the suggestions have mostly been about ways to use it in the growing of veg ;) People have suggested using it at the back of a trough for climbers or if you have two of them, making an A-frame for peas. (Someone else suggested a homemade BBQ grill for cooking “jumbo sausages” :) ) I think they’re great suggestions – but wondered if anyone else over here had other ideas to add.

I’ve seen iron gates that are no longer gate-able but still reasonably sound used to patch up fences in a shabby chic way – the spaces let small animals/wildlife nip through but not bigger things.

If it’s pretty wrought iron, I wonder if it could be used to make garden furniture… Depending on how heavy it is, it might be wall mountable and could be used as a hanging rack for tools, watering cans and whatnot.

Any other ideas?